Interview with Cary Allen Stone author Jake Roberts series
Q. Who are your greatest support – who believes in you?
My significant other Tyler believes in me. She has been an integral part of my life and my writing. I was asked to write a 12,000 word story for a box set recently out of my genre. Ty is my co-author on it. Tied with her are my grown children, Kelly and Brian, and even my ex-wife Sharon (yes, Sharon Stone).
Q. Where do you write from? e.g. Kitchen table? Study? Bedroom? Garden shed?
I like the others you mentioned. I will have to try those, except the shed. I don’t have one. We’re in a high-rise. I used to write on my laptop because I was flying all the time. I’d write on most anything in the hotel room on the layovers. But, my flying days are over, so I write on my iMac on my desk. I live in Phoenix, and face north. I can look at the mountains, the sunshine and the city between sentences.
Do you write at set times e.g. morning, afternoon, evening, very early morning?
Never. I don’t think you need to force a strict regiment like that. I just don’t see anything but endless re-writes if you force it. I write when my mind and my desire to write, comes together, whatever the hour. I write 24/7 in my head. I don’t do a physical outline because it’s too easy to get bogged down in the outline and it’s limiting. By the time I sit down to exercise my craft, the research is done and for the most part the story is written, that is, I know the first and last line, and what I want between them. The creativity comes alive when I sit down to write and find those incredible detours––the plot twists you didn’t anticipate, that’s where the fun is. You already know the complete story so you can see how far off you drifted. You will likely surprise yourself because at all stages, the story evolves, but not the first and last sentences. I add the caveat that I write crime fiction and psychological thrillers. The process works well there, and might not necessarily work for other genres.
Q What motivates you to write?
Q When that flicker of an idea, drawn from your life, your surroundings, a memory, or when you can’t stop thinking about something you encountered outside your barriers that penetrates your mind, or heart, and the more you think about it, the bigger it grows.
Q. What are the biggest distractions to your writing time?
The evil cell phone.
Q. What part of the world do you live in?
In the southwestern part of the US––Phoenix, Arizona.
Q. Are you from there originally?
No, originally from South Florida.
Q. Have you ever suffered from writers’ block?
Not once. I believe it’s because of the way I go about it, as I mentioned earlier. It’s another reason why I don’t force a time regiment to write. Stress writing, I believe, causes writer’s block. Think it through and make the changes in your mind. You won’t get frustrated when you sit down at the computer. Let your writing flow on it’s own timeline. Think about the relationship you’re in with your writing. It’s no different than in personal relationships. The force that binds the relationship is built over time, not 2 overnight. Trying to force a relationship only leads to disappointment and a broken heart. Nurture the story and it will mature.
Q. How do you overcome it?
I’d go for a walk, I guess, think about something else for a few hours.
Q. Have you taken any writers’ courses and have they been worthwhile?
Yes, and no, in my college days, yes. On Internet book sites, you can find a tsunami of information from author’s styles to research. You can find the mechanical do’s and don’t’s. Too many courses and your creativity dries up. Trust yourself, and let the editor do the cleaning up.
Q. Have you ever belonged to a writers’ group? And what value did you gain from it?
I have been in several over the years, but the one I love the most is the Phoenix Writer’s Club. It has been around since 1924, a talented group for sure. I gained insight and knowledge from all of the clubs. With the PWC, I not only found knowledge. I found friends. One of our members, Mabel Leo, is an absolute firecracker of a woman. At her years, she wrote a book about an infamous man and his restaurant in Phoenix. You wouldn’t expect it, but Mabe got her book made into a feature film! The premier is this month and it’s doing well in the film marketplace.
Q. Is self-publishing satisfying enough for you or would you prefer to be traditionally published?
I sought to be with a legacy house, but have learned it’s not the answer for most of us. Once you dig into it, get close enough to sort out the good and the bad, it’s not what you think it will be. Those legacy authors who have been known for a long time do well, but the playing field has changed. If you are a newly “published” author, I believe you will be sadly disappointed, unless you wrote about a kid going to wizard school. A number of published new writers have given up and come over to self-publishing. I’m happy in self-published. You decide if you fail, or succeed. And you just may get a wizard’s break, if you write something that catches on, like Fifty Shades of Gray.
Q. Have you ever tried to find an agent?
I have a dear friend, highly connected in the PR business. She got me an appointment with one of Hollywood’s biggest agents. If you read his client list you would not be able to absorb the shock. We sat together for an hour. His sage advice? “Sure, I could take your money, $6000/month plus expenses, but the truth is, and I’m telling you this because of who sent you here, after a year, you will lose $72,000, and still be just you.”
Q. What would you expect an agent could do for you that you can’t do for yourself?
Nothing on our level. If you get a big score then find an agent. The agents out there are usually part-timers trying to reach the next level, their own agency. How much can they do with 100 clients dividing up their time? How far is their reach? Can they get you into a small publishing house, sure, and then what?
Q. Do you think you can make a full-time career being an Indie writer?
No, there’s too much to do between the PR, the review requests, the formatting and cover design, the Facebook page, the tweets, and all the websites you have for your books and blogs. Writing doesn’t pay enough to cover expenditures. How can you have a fulltime career selling books at .99 cents, or giving them away for free? Again, you may be the next Rowling, but those are some mighty odds. Maybe as an Indie writer enabler, 3 there’s some money in editing, book covers, etc. I write for me. It makes me happy. I loved when the first book I ever had printed arrived in the mail, and all the others since. Open the box and put your hands on your work––there’s no feeling like it.
Q. How long have you been writing?
Since I became the invisible man. Twenty some years ago when my kids were teenagers and I became invisible in the house.
Q. What drew you to want to write a book?
Everybody wants to write a book. The test is finishing the book. I always wanted to, but with a family and career in progress there wasn’t time. When time arrived, I wrote. I tried one to see if I could be disciplined enough to finish it. The biggest issue after that was finding out what someone thought of my work. And there is the crucial moment when you start. You will either continue and improve, or drop to your knees and surrender. I got lucky and got good reviews, so I kept going. The first manuscript I finished is lost forever, but I do have a screenplay of it. I had the fortune of flying for two weeks in the nineties with director Ridley Scott in the Caribbean while he was doing a location scout. We discussed the screenplay and my writing. He was amazingly encouraging and I was off and running. The first book I wrote and published was a true crime story––Through a Mother’s Eyes. It does well both in the US and internationally. The next was crime fiction––After the Evil. It got attention in Hollywood for a television movie, and/or a film. After broken promises and contracts, I decided to have fun with creating a series from After the Evil and it’s the first in my Jake Roberts Novels. Why do I write? You never know when some plot twists in real life come with writing. It’s daring and exciting. One day the phone doesn’t ring and the next that one person saw your best review and life changes.
Q. From where did you get the idea for this current story? The last release, After the Kill, is the fourth Jake Roberts Novel, a continuation of my character and his life. I finished it last October and already my readers what another.
Q. How did you go about developing it? As I mentioned earlier, I write all day in my mind, a revolving storyline for several concepts. With the Jake Roberts Novels, I basically wrote After the Kill while writing its predecessor, After the Goode. I had my first and last line and the story in between set. I intentionally write into the next book. After the last one is package and turned lose, I’m ready for the next in the series.
Q. What is your next project? Since I stepped out of my Jake Roberts Novels to do a story for a box set that had nothing to do with crime fiction, I thought I’d test myself with a new genre. Should be fun. And, Mike, you get the first copy!